When NCAA eligibility dramas aren't equal


Two of college basketball’s premier programs are dealing with freshmen eligibility questions. But you’d never know it.

Everyone’s atwitter (pun intended) about Kentucky recruit Enes Kanter. Did he receive more than $100,000 in salary and expenses from his Turkish club, Fenerbahce Ulker? Or is the team merely staging a prolonged shakedown for a payment or the return of Kanter’s services?

All it took was a N.Y. Times article with Fenerbahce’s general manager denying the shakedown and ripping Kanter’s academic qualifications. “Enes has a good basketball potential yet academically, he is not gifted as much,” Nedim Karakas told the paper.

As a result, my Twitter feed blew up. Responses ranged from indignation regarding Karakas’ comment, to Fenerbahce’s stance on the shakedown to outright weariness on the whole drama.

(Count me among the final group. I’d ready for the NCAA to rule on Kanter so we can all move on.)

Meanwhile, Kansas is still waiting on the NCAA to rule on Josh Selby, who is in limbo because of his association with Robert Frazier, the business manager for Carmelo Anthony. Selby’s mom says Frazier’s a longtime family friend and has merely advised her son. The NCAA is making up its own mind.

Not that anyone seems to care outside of Kansas.

Jayhawks coach Bill Self and Selby spoke at the Jayhawks’ media day, but didn’t have much to say, mostly because they didn’t have anything to report.

“We hope to have a resolution to it sooner rather than later. But I don’t know when that will be,” Self said. “I certainly understand why this has taken a little bit of time but I do think there will be a positive conclusion. Hopefully, shortly. But I don’t know that to be a fact.”

Most seem to think it’s only a matter of time before Selby – Rivals.com’s No. 1 recruit in 2010 – is eligible. Kanter’s anyone’s guess. (John Calipari says Kanter will play.)

Thing is, both players are crucial to a pair of Final Four contenders and both are in a similar situation. But it’s not that Kentucky or Kansas did anything wrong in taking these guys — several schools wanted Selby, while Kanter de-committed from Washington to head to Lexington — but the underlying theme is that Kentucky is, in fact, cheating.

Why the disconnect? Maybe it’s the overseas and payment issues surrounding Kanter that makes the news around him more frenzied. Maybe it’s that he plays for Kentucky, which is in 24/7 coverage. Or maybe it’s that he’s a Calipari recruit.

Schadenfreude may as well be an English word.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

Leave a comment

Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.